During Fiesta of San Fermin and the performances of the best bullfighters, Pamplona has turned into the town of competitive and fighting spirit for hundreds of years, when everyone hurries up to the bullring to see the fight of the day. Some find the rituals and traditions of bullfighting shocking and brutal, but we cannot ignore the effect that the only bullfight can produce on a human being. Perhaps, those, who experience the view at least once, start understanding the Spanish passion toward this cruel custom.
What is so special about annual Fiesta of San Fermin that drives thousands of people to the Plaza de Toros? The first documented bullfight in Pamplona took place in 1385 and the first San Fermin Fiesta on July 7, 1591. Every morning, for eight days six fighting bulls are released to run through the streets of Pamplona along with thousands of people. Many observers admit that you will not probably run together with them, but it is easy to become addicted to this crazy-driving show. Originally, the bull running served to transform the bulls to the bullring, but gradually it turned into a blood-cooling performance in a direct sense of it. Since 1926, the bulls have killed fifteen people, the last one in 2003.
Earnest Hemingway saw his first bullfight in Pamplona and it impressed the writer so much, that this passion reigned over him until the end of his life. After his first bullfight in Pamplona, Hemingway wrote an article in Toronto Star Weekly (October 20, 1923), revealing the drama of bullfighting to the English-speaking readers: ?Bull fighting is not a sport. It was never supposed to be. It is a tragedy. A very great tragedy. The tragedy is the death of the bull.? An essay ?Pamplona in July? (Toronto Star Weekly, October 27, 1923) is a recollection of his first bullfight in Pamplona and the coverage of Fiesta of San Fermin's events.
Hemingway brought his wife Hadley to the bullfight, since he hoped the event would have a positive influence on the unborn son she was carrying then. They were the only English-speaking people at the show in 1923. Hemingway's first bullfight in Pamplona affected him so much, that he spent as much time as it was possible to become acquainted with bullfighters, to compete in amateur bullfighting competitions and to research all Pamplona, to profoundly comprehend the whole essence of Spanish tradition and further to describe his collections in The Sun Also Rises, Death In The Afternoon and Dangerous Summer. The Sun Also Rises is exclusively dedicated to the bullfight in 1923.
The experience of living in Pamplona, communicating with bullfighters and the participation in competitions allowed the writer to see and represent true portrays of bullfighters, metaphysics of crowd's craziness about the show and the very tragedy of bullfighting as a social phenomenon and a cultural tradition.
Pamplona residents are probably the most hospitable hosts. They, in their turn, marked the entire town with Hemingway's presence. They named a street after him and his bust looks on from near the gates, where the bulls and runners enter the Plaza de Toros. The bars that Hemingway visited and the hotel, where he stayed, have become famous.